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Transplanting a grown Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix Roebelenii)

San Antonio, TX(Zone 9a)

Greetings All,

I've got one of these beauties growing in an undesirable location and I'm curious about transplanting it to a more suitable area. However, I'm not sure how much of the root ball would be needed to make the transition successful. I don't want to risk losing the tree, but I fear that it is going to cause problems in the future where it is now.

I'm not sure why this palm was planted so close to the house, but that was not my doing. As you can see in the photo, it's growing right next the house (too close) and it's in a small bed between the the house and a concrete slab. One of the issues is that there is a water main just beside the palm and it may be difficult to dig very far around it.

It's in pretty loose sand, so the digging part will be easy, but the roots may be grown around the pipes somewhat. And the sand may not hold around the root system very well. I'm not sure how large the root ball is on this one and how much it will tolerate being disturbed.

The tree is about 6 years old and is in good health. The trunk portion is about 4 foot tall and 8 inches around. The whole thing is a little over 6 foot tall. The problem may be, that there is only a couple of feet around the trunk on three sides and only a few inches on the forth, that are accessible for digging. (see photo 2)

I guess my main questions are:
A. When is the best time of year for transplanting these, if any certain time is ideal?
B. How large are the root balls on these type of palms at this size?
C. How much of the root ball will I need to get be sure to transplant it safely?

Any help and/or information will be greatly appreciated.

Thumbnail by GD_Rankin
San Antonio, TX(Zone 9a)

Photo 2 . . . Close up of the root base.

Thumbnail by GD_Rankin
SF Bay Area, CA(Zone 9b)

I think it looks great where it is.. What are you worried about?

San Antonio, TX(Zone 9a)

Well, a couple of things actually. For starters, it's overgrown the area it's in and is starting to block the walkway.

Secondly, the tree that provided it the shade it was getting from the high noon to five o'clock sun is no longer here. Since the removal of the old China Berry tree after a storm ripped it apart, the palm now gets - what I feel - is a bit too much of the south Texas mid day sun. It's in pretty good shape still, but it's lost more frowns this year than it ever has.

Basically I feel like it would have a longer and healthier life in a better location - provided a successful transplanting is a viable option. ?

Rancho Cucamonga, CA(Zone 10a)

Your pygmy should be fine even with full sun, but if are you are insistent on moving it, Pygmy's do transplant fairly well. I've transplanted several of them by simply digging up as much as the root ball that I was able to but none of them were the size of yours. I've found that the root balls are not very big, but i would at least dig down a foot or more. Once you move it, water it often till the roots regenerate You will break some roots but they should regenerate quickly. As with anything however there are no gaurantees, so anything can happen. I would avoid moving it in the dead of summer unless it was going to a sheltered location. I would only move any palm only if it was necessary, but if you do move it, let me know how it does

This message was edited Jun 25, 2006 11:22 PM

Acton, CA(Zone 8b)

I have to agree... that's where I would have planted that palm had I that little bed... I think it's in a good spot... but it will look good somewhere else, too. The sun thing is mostly a non-issue once it gets acclimated, but if it's really blocking the drive, that's a different matter. However, it will get taller and may grow 'out of the way' eventually.

San Antonio, TX(Zone 9a)

Ok, thanks for the info guys . . . I'll let ya'll know what I decide. I really like the palm a lot and agree that it 'looks great' where it is now. However, it's grown into the walkway and beginning to block a path that gets a lot of traffic. And the new location I have picked out for it is equally as nice and it will be seen more than where it is now.


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